The Vegetable Stall by William York MacGregor came into the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection in 1939, a present from the artist’s widow.
The painting was x-rayed in the conservation department in order to explore the alleged changes the artist made to the composition.
The still life as we see it now was finished in 1884. However, the painting had been seen while it was still being painted in the artist’s studio in Crail, and had originally contained a figure at the right hand side, "a life-sized, nicely posed female figure busily engaged in counting up her days drawings" (The Bailie 1884).
There is no sign of the figure in the final version.
X-ray composite image, showing female figure on the right.
Final painting, showing female figure overpainted and bunches of onions added.